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Spring Vegetable Salad with Mint Pesto

Spring Vegetable Salad with Mint Pesto


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Tossed with zippy mint pesto, crisp radishes and fresh peas make this spring salad a showstopper. Make the most of your garden vegetables this spring and summer!

Photography Credit:Sally Vargas

Spring is in the air with this lively salad of green beans, peas, radishes, and mint pesto. Of course, it should be on your rotation all summer long, too. It’s that good!

The vegetables, bathed in mint pesto, are punctuated with crunchy toasted almonds, feisty feta, and fresh mint leaves. This is definitely going on my lunch menu all season long.

TO MAKE THIS SALAD AHEAD OF TIME

You can make many components of this salad a day or more in advance. Store the cooked vegetables and mint pesto in the fridge. Put the toasted almonds in an airtight jar (a canning jar would work), and keep it on the counter.

When ready to serve, toss it all together with the feta, radishes, mint, and almonds just before heading to your friend’s potluck dinner or backyard barbecue. And, P.S., you can double or triple the recipe for a crowd.

Four days before:

  • Make the pesto
  • Toast the almonds

The day before:

  • Cook the peas and beans

TIME-SAVING TIP

Save on multiple pots and start cooking the beans first, since they take the longest to cook. After three minutes, add the snap peas and cook for two minutes longer.

To keep these veggies a vibrant green, dip them in an ice-cold water bath to stop the cooking process.

A TRICK FOR CHOPPING ALMONDS

Whole toasted almonds are brittle and fly all over the place when you chop them with a knife. Don’t you hate when that happens?

I love this neat trick, especially when I want just a few almonds to top a salad or to add to my breakfast bowl. Place them in a plastic bag, seal the bag, and lightly tap them with a rolling pin. Voila! No mess, no fuss! (You’re welcome!)

HOW TO SERVE THIS SALAD

This salad is the ultimate potluck side dish to bring to a barbecue or to serve when the family gathers for the summer holidays. Serve it with:

  • Honey Glazed Grilled Chicken
  • Lamb Burgers
  • Salmon from the grill or oven—try this Grilled Salmon with Dill Butter recipe.
  • A spoonful with warmed pita bread to serve alongside this Lamb Chop recipe would be delicious!
  • Grill flatbreads, and put this salad on top for a terrific vegetarian supper.

Spring Vegetable Salad with Mint Pesto Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole almonds with skins
  • 6 ounces green beans, ends trimmed
  • 6 ounces sugar snap peas, halved on the diagonal
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup mint pesto
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) crumbled feta, or to taste

Method

1 Toast the almonds: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are fragrant. Let cool and coarsely chop or crush them.

2 Blanch the beans, snap peas, and peas: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas, and let peas cook for 2 minutes, or until crisp tender. (Total cooking time is 5 minutes.)

With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to the bowl of ice water. Swish them around for about 1 minute. Drain them in a colander, and spread them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Pat dry.

3 Dress and serve the salad: In a large bowl, toss the beans, snap peas, peas, and radishes with the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the mint pesto and toss again.

Taste and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar, if you like. Transfer to a bowl or platter. Sprinkle with the almonds, feta, and mint leaves.

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Spring Green Pasta with Vegan Basil-Mint Pesto

Spring green pasta with asparagus, peas, leek, pumpkin seeds, and homemade vegan pesto sauce. This incredibly quick and easy meal is fresh and healthful and perfect for spring!

Vibrant, snappy spring vegetables meet pasta, meet basil-mint pesto, meet pumpkin seeds, meet yo mouf!

This super easy approach to pasta is everything. It&rsquos fresh and light while still filling. It&rsquos packed with flavor, it&rsquos beautiful to look at, it&rsquos quick to make, it requires very little effort or time, it&rsquos fun for the whole family, it&rsquos&hellipI&rsquoll stop.

You guys, it&rsquos been over a year since I posted my last pasta recipe. Truthfully, I haven&rsquot been eating pasta all that much over the last year since I&rsquove been learning about my various food intolerances (read more about that here). I&rsquove known for a long time wheat was an issue, but I&rsquove also come to realize corn and potatoes can wreak havoc too, both of which are often used in store-bought gluten-free pasta. I was recently introduced to a pasta company that uses nothing but rice in their formula, which is so very welcome by my digestive system.

Case in point: it&rsquos high time for noodles, and it&rsquos high time for fresh spring veggies and herby homemade pesto.

I whipped up the pesto sauce using both basil and mint to give it that je ne sais quois and burst of freshness. I kept the pesto sauce vegan by leaving out the parmesan, and I added some nutritional yeast to give it that &ldquocheesy&rdquo essence. The combination of quality oil, nuts (or seeds), fresh herbs, and nutritional yeast has been my formula for delicious pesto sauce that is both low-FODMAP (perfect for those of us with IBS) and also dairy-free.

Lettuce discuss onions for a hot second. As I confessed to you a while back, onions and garlic are both rough on my digestive system, but I&rsquove found I can tolerate leeks pretty well. For those of you who have trouble with onions, if you haven&rsquot tried cooking with leeks yet, it may be worth a shot (I&rsquod start with a small amount and wait a couple days to see if you tolerate it). Leeks have that amazing onion flavor with an added creaminess, which lends an incredible amount of flavor while being more subtle than regular onion.

If you&rsquore reading this post like, &ldquoI&rsquove got zero qualms with onions and garlic,&rdquo by all means, please do make this your own adventure! I used to add a minimum of 5 cloves of garlic to my pasta dishes (I truly LOVE me some garlic), so if you&rsquore a fan, feel free to add to your heart&rsquos delight.

Need some protein?! I dig. If you&rsquore looking to keep this vegan, you can add chickpeas or your favorite vegan source of protein. If you&rsquore a carnivore like me, you can easily chop up a chicken breast and add it to the mix.

Meal Prep Tips? You can make the pesto sauce up to 3 days ahead of time. Cooking the vegetables and the noodles can be done simultaneously and neither take very much time, so if you&rsquore looking to break the recipe into parts, I would just make the pesto in advance and do the rest all at the same time for best results.


What you need to make spring roll salad:

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side

  • 1/2 cup carrots – shredded or thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cucumbers – thinly sliced and about 1 inch long
  • 2 cups bok choy, napa cabbage or shredded cabbage
  • 3 green onions -thinly sliced
  • 1 chili pepper – Anaheim, serrano or jalapeno – seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro – minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil – sliced, loosely packed
  • 8 ounces dry rice noodles – cook according to package directions, drain and rinse in cold water
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • Optional – 1/2 pound cooked shrimp – peeled, cooked and chilled

Peanut Sauce Dressing: (*If you love peanut sauce, double this sauce recipe for an extra saucy version)


Our 38 Best Vegetarian Recipes for the Spring

William Hereford

After a long cold winter, it’s hard not to get excited about spring’s bounty of fresh produce. With asparagus, artichokes, ramps, morels, peas, and more readily available, there’s no better season to eat vegetarian food.

Woodsy morel mushrooms are delicious in spaghetti, sautéed with mint and peas, or served with tofu skin in a pungent black bean chile sauce. Our best ramp recipes deploy the mildly onion-y herbs in a seasonal escabeche and as a base for pizza. Then there’s fresh asparagus—simply toss the stalks in a skillet with butter, salt, and pepper to let their flavor shine. Asparagus slices cured in honey and lemon juice make a wonderful topping for a creamy macadamia gazpacho. Spring peas in pea recipes are wonderful for adding a pop of sweetness to virtually any dish. Along with asparagus, carrots, fennel, and spring onions, they create a vibrant barigoule.

It’s easy being green with easy spring recipes. Whether you’re sticking to easy spring salad recipes or testing your cooking chops with spring pastas and spring soup recipes, we’ve got you covered here.

Gujarati Spring Vegetables

Though it is typically made with root vegetables, come spring, Heena Patel likes to put a bright seasonal spin on the southern Gujarati vegetable dish undhiyu.Get the recipe for Gujarati Spring Vegetables »

Grilled Halloumi and Cherry Salad

The sweetness of cherries balances the saltiness of halloumi in this simple summer salad, perfect for a side or a main dish. Get the recipe for Grilled Halloumi and Cherry Salad »

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi)

This recipe originated in the Ottoman palaces. Use small eggplants for a better eggplant-to-stuffing ratio, since the key is to bake as much vegetable and tomato flavor into the eggplant as possible. Feel free to play around with the filling: swap in vegetables like sweet corn or zucchini for a seasonal twist. Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi) »

Radish and Cilantro Salad with Goat Cheese

In this simple Japan-meets-California salad, radishes are tossed with cilantro and a fragrant rice vinegar and soy sauce vinaigrette before topped with goat cheese. Get the recipe for Radish and Cilantro Salad with Goat Cheese »

Barigoule of Spring Vegetables

Crisp spring vegetables pair with a flavorful, vanilla-scented broth in this Provençal classic. Get the recipe for Barigoule of Spring Vegetables »

Morels with Mint, Peas, and Shallot

Richard Kuo of New York City’s Pearl & Ash uses preserved lemon, a Moroccan staple, to brighten this simple spring dish. Get the recipe for Morels with Mint, Peas, and Shallot »

Persian Kuku Sabzi

A classic Persian herb-loaded egg dish with the fragrant lift of rose petals. Get the recipe for Persian Kuku Sabzi »

Soba Salad with Lemon-Miso Vinaigrette

This refreshing salad of soba noodles tossed with winter greens and mixed vegetables is brought together by a tart dressing of miso, ginger juice, and lemon. Get the recipe for Soba Salad with Lemon-Miso Vinaigrette »

Spinach, Chive, and Yogurt Soup with Grilled Scallions

Morels in Black Bean Sauce with Fried Enoki Mushrooms

Morels are paired with pieces of yuba, or tofu skin, to soak up a pungent black bean chile sauce to create this rich, flavorful almost-stew. Get the recipe for Morels in Black Bean Sauce with Fried Enoki Mushrooms »

Watercress Ricotta Torte

Packed with grassy, spicy watercress and plenty of cheese, this frittata-like tart works wonders at brunch. Get the recipe for Watercress Ricotta Torte »

Spaghettini with Carrots, Olives, and Red Endive

Carrot ribbons cooked al dente and lightly braised red endive add color to this simple vegetable-packed pasta dish, brightened with lots of lemon zest. Josita Hartanto of Berlin’s Lucky Leek uses multicolored carrots for a beautiful presentation. Get the recipe for Spaghettini with Carrots, Olives, and Red Endive »

Puntarelle and Dandelion Green Salad with Honey and Olive Vinaigrette

Dandelion greens and sturdy, slightly bitter puntarelle (an Italian chicory) stand up to honey-mustard vinaigrette in this assertive spring salad. Get the recipe for Puntarelle and Dandelion Green Salad with Honey and Olive Vinaigrette »

Shaved Carrot Tart with Ricotta

Piles of colorful carrot ribbons—which skew more savory than sweet, thanks to a lemony coriander-flecked dressing—come out of the oven glistening and retaining some of their bite. The keys to the couldn’t-be-flakier crust beneath: keeping the ingredients as cold as possible, and not overhandling the dough. Leftovers of the tart can be refrigerated and recrisped in the oven the next day. Get the recipe for Shaved Carrot Tart with Ricotta »

Buckwheat and Ricotta Gnocchi with Cream, Peas, and Spinach

Buckwheat flour gives this gnocchi weightiness and an earthy flavor that pairs perfectly with a spring mix of peas and spinach. Get the recipe for Buckwheat and Ricotta Gnocchi with Cream, Peas, and Spinach »

Iceberg Wedge with Lemon-Parsley Dressing

Chilled Macadamia Gazpacho with Cured Asparagus

Sweet macadamia nuts, toasted to deepen their flavor, give a creamy base to this creative chilled gazpacho with asparagus. Get the recipe for Chilled Macadamia Gazpacho with Cured Asparagus »

Pizza with Ramps, Morels, and Eggs

This pizza, which pairs mellow, earthy morels, with oniony ramps, sharp Parmesan cheese, and just-set eggs. Get the recipe for Pizza with Ramps, Morels, and Eggs »

Grilled Calçots and Asparagus with Romesco Sauce

Chef José Andrés likes to cook these calçots, here served with asparagus, in the traditional manner: in a newspaper. The newspaper traps in steam from the cooling calçots, making them more tender and soaking up any excess oil. These tender Spanish green onions, always served with Romesco sauce, are a classic springtime treat. Get the recipe for Grilled Calçots and Asparagus with Romesco Sauce »

Jose Enrique’s Ramp Escabeche

Garlicky grilled ramps soak up the vinegary tang of the escabeche sauce, and because of the light pickling, can keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to two months. Get the recipe for Jose Enrique’s Ramp Escabeche »

Pea Shoot and Mint Pesto

This nontraditional pesto is one of the best ways to use up an overload of pea shoots. Packed with mint and spread atop toast or beneath a burger, it will make anything you pair it with taste fresher and greener. Get the recipe for Pea Shoot and Mint Pesto »

Olive-Oil Poached Green Almonds with Dill

Green almonds are a rare spring treat simmering them in olive oil, orange juice, and aromatics mitigates their slightly bitter exterior, making them an irresistible cocktail party snack. Get the recipe for Olive-Oil Poached Green Almonds with Dill »

Skillet Asparagus

Cooking asparagus in the skillet concentrates its flavor rather than diluting it, as steaming or boiling can. Get the recipe for Skillet Asparagus »

Morel and Asparagus Spaghetti

In this bright spring pasta dish of morels, asparagus, and cream, dried morels are rehydrated in boiling water that is then used to cook spaghetti, infusing the pasta with an earthy, mushroomy flavor. Get the recipe for Morel and Asparagus Spaghetti »

Artichokes and Fava Beans (Aginares Me Koukia)

Tender artichoke hearts and fava beans pair beautifully in this simple Greek side dish. Get the recipe for Artichokes and Fava Beans (Aginares Me Koukia) »

Fresh Peas With Lettuce and Green Garlic

This side dish from Andrea Reusing’s Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes (Clarkson Potter, 2011) is the essence of summer: emerald green vegetables cooked together briefly, until their flavors just meld. Get the recipe for Fresh Peas With Lettuce and Green Garlic »

Leek Terrine with Goat Cheese

The striking geometry of this terrine—an elegantly simple pairing of leeks and goat cheese—makes for a visually arresting presentation. We like it served with dark pumpernickel bread and some briny cured salmon at brunch, or as part of a cheese plate with a casual dinner. Get the recipe for Leek Terrine with Goat Cheese »

Butter Lettuce Salad with Pistachios and Orange Crème Fraîche Dressing

A simple salad pairs end-of-season citrus with fresh butter lettuce topped with pistachios. Get the recipe for Butter Lettuce Salad with Pistachios and Orange Crème Fraîche Dressing »

Roasted Artichokes (Carciofi Arrostiti)

Though traditionally cooked in embers, these artichokes are equally as succulent when oven-roasted. Get the recipe for Roasted Artichokes (Carciofi Arrostiti) »

Sweet Pea Gnocchi

These airy potato pillows get an infusion of color and flavor from sweet peas and fresh mint before being coated in a lemon and herb cream sauce. Get the recipe for Sweet Pea Gnocchi »

Braised Artichokes

Earthy and tender, these artichokes are a favorite antipasto at Frankies Spuntino restaurants in New York City. Get the recipe for Braised Artichokes »

Six-Onion Pizza

This sweet and savory pizza showcases the flavor of six kinds of onion. Get the recipe for Six-Onion Pizza »

Fava Bean Soup (Sopa de Habas)

The secret to this soup is a flavorful aromatic base of tomatoes, garlic, and onions—called a recado—that is pureed and fried before the beans go into the pot. Get the recipe for Fava Bean Soup (Sopa de Habas) »

Pasta with Grilled Artichokes

Baby artichokes, dressed with olive oil and garlic, take center stage in this lemony dish. Get the recipe for Pasta with Grilled Artichokes »

Brown Butter, Peas, and Mint Omelette

Rich, nutty brown butter perfectly offsets the fresh flavor of sweet peas and mint. Get the recipe for Brown Butter, Peas, and Mint Omelette »

Vegetable Ragout with Pesto (Ragout De Legumes Au Pistou)

Pairing pistou, an herb sauce made with fresh basil, with tender spring vegetables makes for a bright-tasting seasonal entree. Get the recipe for Vegetable Ragout with Pesto (Ragout De Legumes Au Pistou) »

Espàrrecs Amb Vinagreta (Catalan Asparagus Vinaigrette)

A deceptively simple vinaigrette of olive oil, white wine vinegar, chopped parsley, and crushed tomato transforms simple steamed asparagus into a sumptuous and well-turned-out dish—exactly what a great dressing should do. Get the recipe for Espàrrecs Amb Vinagreta (Catalan Asparagus Vinaigrette) »

Poireaux Vinaigrette (Marinated Leeks with Herbs)

The origins of leeks vinaigrette—poached leeks in a mustardy dressing—are unknown, but it’s easy to imagine someone pulling them out of the stockpot once they had worked their magic, then seasoning them. Get the recipe for Poireaux Vinaigrette (Marinated Leeks with Herbs) »


  • For the Pesto:
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil or mint (or combination), plus more for garnish
  • 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 3 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts or pinenuts, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1-2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Salad:
  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) gemelli pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
  • 8 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) frozen green peas, thawed

To make the pesto, combine the herbs, garlic, cheese, nuts, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse several times until finely chopped. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta and peas. Add the pesto little by little until salad is adequately dressed. Season to taste with salt, pepper and more lemon juice. Garnish salad with chopped nuts and chopped herbs, if desired.


Recipe Summary

  • 3 roma (plum) tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 zucchini, cut into cubes
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 (16 ounce) package rotini pasta
  • ¾ cup prepared pesto sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Spread roma tomatoes, zucchini, green bell pepper, and onion onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss vegetables to coat evenly with oil season with salt and black pepper.

Bake in the preheated oven until vegetables are tender and starting to brown, about 30 minutes. Let vegetables cool.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil cook the rotini at a boil until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes drain and set aside to cool.

Peel and discard skins from roma tomatoes. Combine the roasted vegetables, rotini, and pesto in a large bowl. Serve slightly warm or chill if desired.


What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. For the pesto, into a food processor fitted with an S-blade, add pine nuts and garlic. Pulse in 10 second intervals, 3 times, until a crumble is formed. Add herbs and lemon juice and pulse again stopping to scrape down sides as needed. With processor on low speed, slowly drizzle in oil. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. For the salad, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, create an ice bath by adding ice cubes to a large bowl of water. Blanch asparagus by adding spears to boiling water and cooking for 2 minutes. Transfer asparagus to ice bath to stop cooking process. Repeat process for sugar snap peas, blanching for 2 minutes. Let both asparagus and sugar snap peas sit in ice bath for at least 5 minutes each. Then, drain water and pat dry both vegetables. Cut asparagus into 1-inch lengths and sugar snap peas in half horizontally.
  4. Lay cubed bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in oven for 7 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, combine asparagus, sugar snap peas, sweet peas, radish, arugula, spinach, avocado, bread, and pesto. Mix well to evenly coat everything with pesto. Let rest for 10 minutes so bread has time to soak up some pesto. Then, divide equally among 4 serving bowls and serve.

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10 Amazing Things You Can Do With Mint

  1. Salad Ingredient: Chop up a few leaves and add them to your salad along with some freshly grated ginger and lemon zest. The flavour combo is amazing and adds a great summery flare to your favourite salad.
  2. Jazz Up Your Water: Flavour your water or lemonade with some smashed mint leaves.
  3. Fancy Ice Cubes: Adding chopped mint leaves or even peppermint tea to your ice cube tray is super cute and makes for fun summer sipping. Pop these ice cubes into your guests’ drinks at a party or into your blender for a minty smoothie.
  4. Homemade Potpourri: Dry mint leaves in your dehydrator or oven at the lowest temperature. Once dried, chop slightly and put into a little sachet or piece of cheesecloth. Secure with a ribbon and hang on your doorknobs or tuck inside your drawers.
  5. Add To Chocolate: I think many of us can agree that mint-chocolate is a match made in heaven. Take your raw cacao loving to a whole new level by adding a few mint leaves into recipes. My personal favourite is this Chocolate Avocado Pudding recipe with the addition of 4-5 mint leaves.
  6. Chocolate Dip Them: What!? Yes! Take fresh mint leaves, one by one, and dip them in your favourite homemade or melted chocolate chips and let chill in the fridge until the chocolate has hardened. Amazing!
  7. Juice It: Mint adds an amazing freshness to any pressed juice. Try it with some apple, cucumber and lemon. You might want to swap the apple for watermelon if you have some on hand. Serious refreshment.
  8. Make A Tea: Fresh mint, chopped or even just mashed up a little and added to hot water makes a delicious digestive soothing tea.
  9. Tincture It: Chop up your fresh mint, fill a jar and add some organic vodka to the jar and shake, shake, shake. Shake daily for at least 4 weeks, and then strain out the mint and you have a mint medicine tincture (or a mint-infused cocktail vodka!). More on tincture making here.
  10. Pesto: Need I say more? It’s a summer classic that you can use as a sauce, for dressing, dips and spreads.

Please enjoy this delicious and fresh basil mint pesto, as just one amazing way to use this easy to grow herb.


Fava, Snap Pea & Spring Vegetable Salad with Creamy Mint Dressing

The appearance of Spring vegetables makes me geek out, particularly when I spot the season’s first fava beans and bunched radishes. Seriously, last April one of the farmers at the greenmarket told me he’d never seen someone get so excited about radish greens. What can I say? Good produce makes me happy. Anyway, when I got my hands on beautiful favas and radishes last week, I knew I needed to feature them in a post immediately. This salad is crisp, cool, creamy, refreshing, and perfect as a substantial appetizer or a light meal on its own. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the arrival of Spring.

Fresh fava beans (aka broad beans) are a staple of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, but until recently they weren’t all that common here in the West. I’d still categorize them as something of a niche ingredient, but when they’re in season they’re easy to find at farmers’ and specialty markets and some well-stocked supermarkets. With a subtle flavor that’s equal parts grassy and nutty, and a beautiful emerald green color, fresh fava beans are worth seeking out. I confess they’re a bit labor-intensive – you’ll need to remove them from the pods and cook them, then peel off the tough outer skin – but all of that is easy and doesn’t require much time. When shopping for fava beans, select pods that feel smooth and evenly firm from end to end (if you feel empty spaces/pockets along the length of a pod, toss it back in the bin and keep looking). The yield on these is pretty low in relation to weight since the pods are heavy, so bear in mind that one pound of pods will yield ½ to ¾ cup of shelled beans depending on the size of the actual beans.

After you’ve removed all the fava beans from the pods, you’re going to simmer them in salted water for about a minute, then transfer to a ice bath to cool for a few minutes. Once the beans are cool you need to peel them, and it’s surprisingly easy and quick work. Pinch the very end of the skin between your thumb and index finger and squeeze gently. The skin will start to split, and the bean will slip right out. If some of the beans are stubborn, you can tear off a tiny piece of skin to get things moving.

Pinch, squeeze, and slide – just like that! Discard the skins when you’re done, and ponder that amazing, vibrant green color for a moment.

I like to pair favas with their more widely recognized seasonal cousins, sugar snap peas. Crisp and sweet with that delightful pop when you bite into a pea, they’re the perfect complement to fava beans and are really refreshing in this salad. Snap peas are pretty common and you’ve likely had them, so I’ll spare you a detailed primer. I do urge you to seek them out at farmers’ markets while they’re in season and available straight from the source, but if you only have access to supermarket snap peas, they’ll still be good.

So, let’s talk radishes now. Unless you have access to a good greenmarket, you’ve probably only had the standard globe radishes with red, white or purple skin, and white flesh inside, and perhaps white daikon radish if you enjoy Chinese, Japanese or Vietnamese cuisine. Either way, they have thin skin and crisp, slightly peppery flesh, so a radish is a radish is a radish, right?

There are scores of radish varieties, and they differ in color, shape, size, and flavor. See the light purple one in the back of the photo? That’s a purple daikon, and the flesh inside is mottled purple and white. The flavor is pretty mild. The oblong green and white one on the right? That’s a “green meat” radish, named as such because it’s green inside also relatively mild-tasting. If you follow me on Instagram you probably already know this, but there’s another special radish variety of which I’m a huge fan – the watermelon radish. The unremarkable-looking whitish one on the left? that’s a watermelon radish. There’s a reason for the name…

Can you believe that’s a radish? These beauties are tougher-skinned than globe radishes, with slightly softer, mild-tasting flesh. Watermelon radishes can grow to be absolutely enormous – earlier this year I purchased one to use for a dinner party that was literally the size of a grapefruit and weighed 3 pounds. It made sense on that occasion because I was dicing it into cubes for an appetizer to feed a lot of people, but I can’t imagine having many other reasons to use such a giant radish.

The other variety I like to use in this salad is the French breakfast radish, but unfortunately the farm stand was out of them by the time I got there so I don’t have a photo and didn’t use any in this batch. With gorgeous fuschia and white skin and really crisp white flesh, they’re delicate and wonderful and worth trying.

If I can offer you one final and important tidbit about radishes, it’s this: whenever possible, buy them with the greens still attached, and use the greens! They have a slightly pungent, peppery flavor similar to the actual radish, and they’re super nutritious. Turn them into pesto, sauté them with garlic and a little acid, cook and blend them into a green soup…there are so may ways to enjoy them beyond slicing them up for this salad. Radish greens are highly perishable and will actually spoil faster if they remain attached to the radishes. Be sure to cut them off as soon as you get them home, give them a thorough soak in water to remove all the grit, and dry them well before refrigerating. I recommend using them within 2-3 days. And that, my friends, is probably more than you thought you ever needed to know about radishes, so let’s move on.

Okay, maybe one last look at the assorted slices I added to my salad, just because they’re so pretty.

When slicing the greens, stack them on the cutting board, fold or roll the stack lengthwise to decrease your cutting surface area, and slice into thin ribbons ( ⅛ to ¼ inch is fine). And no, those aren’t radish greens in the photo. I stupidly used mine up, so I substituted some dandelion greens that I had on hand.

Fennel is another major vegetable component of this salad, and like the others, it’s at peak season right now. I adore fennel, raw or cooked, in all its anise glory. It’s also another vegetable that has multiple usable parts, so don’t go throwing away the stalks or the green fronds that are attached to them. Pull off the fronds, chop them up, and use them as you would any green herb. Then roast the stalks to deepen the flavor, and add them to soup stock. No waste. Boom.

Notice how I sliced the fennel here? I cut off the piece of core that was jutting from the bottom, stood the bulb upright on the board, and cut it in half through the top, lengthwise. Then I started cutting paper-thin slices from the rounded outer surface of one half until it was flat. Now I can do the same thing on the left and right until all surfaces are flat, and continue slicing all the way to the center. Once I hit the really tough core, I’m done. (Toss the core – that’s the one bit of waste here.) You want the fennel slices super thin, so if you have a mandoline go ahead and use it.

Lastly on the vegetables, I’ve added a couple of thinly sliced Persian cucumbers. I love their diminutive size and big crunch, and they’re easier on the digestive system than standard cukes because they’re nearly seedless. If you can’t find good Persian cucumbers, substitute half of a large English seedless (aka hothouse) cucumber. There’s some caper and shallot in the salad too, but you don’t really need visuals or instructions for that – details are in the recipe.

All that’s left now is the dressing, and it’s a keeper! Light, creamy, tangy, and loaded with fresh mint, I could probably drink this stuff straight. You have a few options for the base – if you eat dairy, I recommend kefir for its uniquely effervescent tang and all those beneficial probiotics. Not into kefir? Use buttermilk, or yogurt soured with some apple cider vinegar or lemon. If you’re dairy-free you can substitute coconut kefir, or spike some coconut-milk yogurt with lemon juice or vinegar. The keys here are creaminess and tang, however you choose to achieve that.

Chop up the mint pretty finely. It doesn’t need to be minced, but you want small flecks of it evenly distributed throughout the dressing.

Add all the ingredients to a bowl, and whisk to combine throughly.

Easy peasy. Taste it, and if you feel like it needs a little more salt or pepper (or both), season it to your liking. Then pour it over the vegetables, toss everything together, and serve! If you like more sweetness in your salad, fold in some slices or supremes of orange – they’ll do the trick without throwing off the balance of flavors.


Watch the video: Fresh Spring Mix Salad. Episode 156 (May 2022).